You know, you’d think, now that Rod Rosenstein has reportedly told the President he’s not a target of any part of the Mueller probe, that Trump would calm down when it comes to insulting the special counsel investigation publicly.
After the original Bloomberg report on that (Thursday afternoon) CNN appeared to try and add a little bit of specificity to the story, reporting that Rosenstein told Trump the President isn’t a target in the investigation of Michael Cohen, whose offices were raided with the Deputy AG’s personal blessing earlier this month.
As we noted on Thursday, on the surface that would appear to be really good news for Donald Trump, assuming it’s not some kind of gambit to preserve the integrity of the special counsel investigation by forestalling any move to fire Mueller.
It’s also conveniently timed – after all, Trump already wanted to fire Rosenstein (who was named Devin Nunes’s infamous “memo”) and once it was confirmed that the Deputy AG had personally signed off on the FBI raid of Michael Cohen’s offices, home, and hotel room, everyone went ahead and assumed that it was just a matter of time before the President moved against the DoJ.
Bloomberg noted that following the meeting at which Rosenstein told Trump he was not a target, the President “told some of his closest advisers that it’s not the right time to remove either man.” If Trump is that gullible and can be swayed that easily, well then it doesn’t say much for his purportedly legendary negotiating abilities. I mean after all, if you were Trump, would you believe Rosenstein? Regular readers know we despise Trump and think it’s entirely likely that he’s guilty of all manner of crimes and we also think the “deep state” conspiracy meme is absurd in the extreme, but we have to admit that if we were the President, we wouldn’t trust a damn thing Rosenstein says.
Anyway, one reason Trump might have refrained from firing Rosenstein in recent days is that, according to the Washington Post, Jeff Sessions threatened to quit if he did. To wit:
Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently told the White House he might have to leave his job if President Trump fired his deputy, Rod J. Rosenstein, who oversees the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to people familiar with the exchange.
Sessions made his position known in a phone call to White House counsel Donald McGahn last weekend, as Trump’s fury at Rosenstein peaked after the deputy attorney general approved the FBI’s raid April 9 on the president’s personal attorney Michael Cohen.
In the phone call with McGahn, Sessions wanted details of a meeting Trump and Rosenstein held at the White House on April 12, according to a person with knowledge of the call. Sessions expressed relief to learn that their meeting was largely cordial. Sessions said he would have had to consider leaving as the attorney general had Trump ousted Rosenstein, this person said.
Another person familiar with the exchange said Sessions did not intend to threaten the White House but rather wanted to convey the untenable position that Rosenstein’s firing would put him in.
Right. And speaking of “untenable positions”, McGahn’s involvement in all of this (including the conversation with Rosenstein), puts him right back in the same position he was in last year and potentially sets up a scenario where he’ll have to threaten to quit again like he reportedly did last summer the first time Trump tried to fire Mueller. You’ll recall that McGahn is already rumored to be on his way out the door, although a time table isn’t yet written in stone.
So again, just to reiterate what we said here at the outset, you’d think Trump would be careful about publicly maligning the special counsel, but this is Trump we’re talking about and so this is what he was doing just before midnight on Friday:
Now for one thing, maybe Trump isn’t insulting Mueller. After all, Mueller is the special counsel, with an “-el”. No one knows who the “special council” (with an “-il”) is that Trump keeps tweeting about. Maybe it’s a team of mutant gerbils operating out of a secret hideout in Hillary Clinton’s basement with funding from James Comey’s book sales.
In any event, this is the kind of thing that makes him look guilty as fucking sin, and as far as the whole “really, does everybody know what that means?” question is concerned, the answer is “no” and the “everybody” who doesn’t know definitely includes Trump because you can bet that tweet is derived from something he heard his lawyers discussing.
If he’s not a target now, he’s making himself into a target with tweets like that and besides, the premise of the tweet is entirely wrong – just ask a former FBI counterintelligence agent: